MAMCO’s collection lies at the very center of the strategy developed by the director since 2016, which is to consider it as both origin and the destination of all exhibitions. It is also become the focus of museum’s politics of internationalization.
In 2017, the collection grew by 84 works, either completing or stabilizing existing corpus (Franz Erhard Walther, Sherrie Levine), filling important gaps (Allan McCollum, Louise Lawler, Silvia Kolbowski), or exploring new directions. Important donations received directly from artists (Claudio Parmiggiani, Mai-Thu Perret, David Hominal, Andreas Dobler) fulfilled these same aims.
In 2016, the collection grew by some 500 works, thanks in large part to a bequest by Claudine and Sven Widgren and a donation in the memory of Marika Malacorda. The Fondation MAMCO also acquired in 2016–2017 the collection of Ghislain Mollet-Viéville, brought together in the museum’s Appartement.
For the development of its collection, MAMCO benefits from the support of its friend’s association, private donors, and donations. When you become a Friend of MAMCO, you contribute to it as well.
With the project In Course of Acquisition, MAMCO proceeds, during artgenève 5-day fair, to in situ acquisitions. Its booth thus opens completely empty and is filled day after day as works bought at the fair are brought together. This project is made possible by the Friends Association of MAMCO, an anonymous donor, and Mirabaud & Cie. In 2017–2018, 13 works by artists such as Hassan Sharif, On Kawara, Haim Steinbach, Mai-Thu Perret, Louise Lawler, and Zak Kitnick, thus joined the museum’s collection.
The MOMAS (Museum of Modern Art Syros) by Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) was a fictional museum organised in Greece from 1993 to 1996, in an unfinished, abandoned building near the port of Syros Island, in the Cyclades. This museum was “founded” when Kippenberger, invited there by his friend Michel Würtle, noticed the skeleton of an architecture made up of concrete. He turned it into the setting of an institution with no walls or collection. As the self-proclaimed director of a self-founded site, Kippenberger invited artists to make propositions for MOMAS, which was more of a museum of projects than a museum of works. Hubert Kiecol, Stephen Prina, Christopher Williams, Cosima von Bonin, Christopher Wool (who produced the system of signs) were among the artists invited to act in and for this site destined to a limited public (ten people at most).
Visitors to MAMCO are welcomed into a museum building in Geneva by a weather-vane with the MOMAS sign, set in the floor, and a series of pieces linked to this ephemeral project, with a mock-up of the actual and conceptual institution figuring as part of the collection. Such is the corpus brought together for an exhibition in the summer of 2018 in Palermo, as part of Manifesta, organized by the Swiss Institute, in collaboration with the Estate of Martin Kippenberger and the Galerie Gisela Capitain, as part of the MAMCO’s internationalist initiatives. This project, under the curatorship of Samuel Gross, returns to Geneva, in 2019.
Guy de Cointet
A French artist who emigrated to the USA in 1965, Guy de Cointet (1934-1983) was the assistant of the sculptor Larry Bell, whom he followed to Los Angeles, where he was based until the end of his life. He played an important role on the post-conceptual Californian scene: his interest in theatrics and visual poetry was to influence directly the first performances by Mike Kelley, and echoes of his “stage objects” were to be found in a large number of practices among the artists of later generations.
Premiering in 1976 in Los Angeles, Ethiopia is the first play which the artist elaborated in several acts and with several actors. It was also the first of his many collaborations with Robert Wilhite, who was responsible for the musical elements of his pieces. On stage, the objects are as evocative as the scenario. Quite quickly, their status becomes ambiguous: the actors use them, comment on them, while they also keep a certain autonomy. In a play with no real plot, in the traditional sense, it is the interactions, or else the symbiosis, that come into action between the objects themselves and the actors that form the core of the work. A blonde woman, a Latino and an African American, chosen to depict archetypal figures, tell the stories of their families. They animate the objects during a performance until, once it is finished, they turn (back) into sculptures and retain from the performance only the recollection of how they depicted the very spatial relationships that acted as triggers for its situations. The elements that make up Ethiopia entered the museum’s collections during the retrospective devoted to Guy de Cointet in 2004. They were presented at the Beirut Art Center in summer 2018, during the exhibition Space Edits (the Trouble with Language), as part of the MAMCO’s internationalization initiatives.